This game has a wonderful premise and it tries to capture the very specific feeling of playing a game in a foreign language. It is a feeling that I experienced a lot growing up when I played english-only games while stil knowing very little English, or better yet when I tried to make sense of Japanese games.
All of this game is in a foreign language. Text boxes, dialogue, even the instruction manual (that you find in pieces, page by page, by exploring the world).
Because of this design choice, this game achieves an almost perfect "silent narrative", since the player is left to discover everything by themselves, by trying to decypher what the pictures in the manual are supposed to tell you, and making a few educated guesses (e.g. see this chilli pepper consumable item? Gaming literacy tells you that it's gonna either buff your attack or your speed. Go experiment and find out!)
Exploration is pretty satisfying and it's especially tight in the first few hours of the game, with new powers that unlock areas metroidvania-style, and shortcuts that cleverly loop back to familiar territory. By the end you are going to find some very intricate puzzles that can be very satisfying to unravel.
While exploration and puzzles are definitely this game's strong suit, I unfortunately can't say the same about the combat mechanics. I generally found fighting basic mobs unsatisfying, due to the puny range of the main weapon, slow walking speed, and a couple of baffling design choices. Namely, a parry system that is so useless it's straight up unfeasible (parries are often slower than a whole enemy attack animation), a lock-on system that is basically a liability when used in a group fight, and limited equipment slots. No quickbars or weapon wheels here: you equip three items and that's it. One's gonna be the sword, and if you want to use magic you probably have to reserve another slot for a MP-healing item. So have fun having only ONE subweapon slot. Oh and you can't swap the item in that slot while in combat, because for some godforsaken reason the game doesn't pause while in the menu, and trying to fiddle with it while in combat is gonna get you killed in no time.
The game doesn't seem to realise that combat is by far its weakest point, and it keeps throwing at you challenging encounters that are entirely un-fun to tackle. That said, I feel that the bosses were challenging, fair, and decently realised (mainly because they were one-on-one fights for the most part).
To summarise: the exploration, the vibrant world, the charming idea behind the game makes me want to give it 4 stars. I'll strike half a star from the score for the disappointing combat mechanics
This honestly didn't click all that well with me. Bosses are absurdly hard, and combat is already a bit clunky at times. I love the world and the aesthetic of the game, and the game manual is such a wonderful nod to manuals of old. However, it's incredibly obtuse with its world and puzzles. The path to the next area was so well hidden, that I missed it for over an hour. I will say that the accessibility options are nice, but this may be a bit too hard.
I mean, it's a fine enough Zelda/Dark Souls styled love child, and the world looks nice...but man, I am so not crazy about the camera or combat. I know that this game is all about trying to make you feel lost and feel like you're understanding the world with its foreign language, but it just didn't click with me. It just doesn't really feel like that fun of game. But than again I am not really a Zelda guy, so who knows; maybe you'll get more out of it than me.
One of the best indie games I've played in quite some time! Though I felt like the later game was a bit bogged down with excessive backtracking and needlessly removing stats, making it a fair bit more difficult and frustrating, the rest of the game was a complete joy in every aspect. Exploration, music, atmosphere, even the combat was fun.
My experience with Tunic is a tale of two games: the first half of the game and the second half. This was a game I thoroughly enjoyed right up until I didn't, at which point I wanted to pull my hair out and couldn't wait for it to be over. The end result is a mixed bag that I'd probably recommend, but just be warned you're in for a world of frustration later on.
First of all, Tunic is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. It's a Zelda-like through and through, and a very well-made one at that. It's a game that harkens back to that old-school feeling of loading up a cartridge, not knowing where to go or what to do, and gradually feeling out the adventure as you find the tools you need to progress through new parts of the world. That world is expertly made here, with secrets abound and a pleasing aesthetic to go along with a wonderfully ambient soundtrack that is easy to jive with - at least for a time.
By far the most interesting aspect of Tunic - and the most vital to understand - is the manual mechanic, in which you pick up pieces of paper throughout the world that comprise the game's instruction booklet. It's meant to invoke games of long ago where you'd need to read through the manual to actually understand it, and everything you need to know about the game will be found here, from the controls to the map to combat mechanics and more. It's incredibly charming in is presentation and as someone that is more than old enough to have nostalgia for this very thing, I found it a largely welcome inclusion that really cemented the type of game Tunic is striving to be.
That said, it's not without issues, as if you don't strive to seek out these pages, you can easily be left a little confused with certain aspects of Tunic. Some of the game's core mechanics are not straight forward and you likely won't figure them out without the manual, which resulted in a number of situations where I didn't discover them until well after I could have used them multiple times. Most of the manual is also written in an unintelligible, fictional language, so you won't always get as much detail as you'd like with each page. It can be fun to sus out what it's trying to tell you at times, but other instances felt far too cryptic to be of any use.
The game's major fault - as alluded to earlier - is the second half of the game, where difficulty ramps up dramatically and ruined a bit of the vibe I was feeling with Tunic up until that point. It's not that the challenge was unexpected or unwanted, but the manner in which it does so can be, at times, infuriating. Throwing an overwhelming number of enemies at the player, for example, really stresses the limit of the largely competent combat system the game has, where it can be difficult to target specific enemies in a pinch and the game gives you very little in the way of AOE attacks. If you blow your resources (items, magic) you can easily find trudging to the next save point an arduous task as enemies pick you apart from a distance.
Tunic also LOVES to put you in situations where it takes away some of your hard earned progress by reducing your max amount of HP/stamina/magic when you're in certain states, or in some cases slowly draining your health and lowering your max HP entirely (at least until you fix it at a save point). It causes certain late-game locations to become an absolute chore to get through, making you feel weaker than you should be at that point in an adventure simply for the sake of a more artificial challenge. The final boss was also a miserable experience and if I didn't figure out a specific way to cheese it, I'd likely never have finished the game.
All this isn't to say that Tunic is a bad experience - it really isn't, and I'm glad I saw it through after deciding to play it on a whim. It's the kind of pure throwback video game experience that you don't see a lot of anymore and I almost hate to be negative about it because I do value this kind of thing. What it does well, it does REALLY well; I just wish it had been more consistent about that from beginning to end.
This game has a lot of good things... But a lot of bad things.
The art is amazing
-The manual pages are curious
-The bosses are great
-The final boss is AMAZING
-The maps are complicated in a bad way. Like a bad Metroidvania.
-The whole "ghost section" is a difficulty spike which doesn´t add anything to the game.
-The backtracking before the final battle is horrible, just made to sum hours to your game.
It´s like a 7.5 game, barely an 8 if you got me in a good day.
For what it's worth, I was having a fairly decent time playing through Tunic during it's first half. The puzzle element of trying to figure out more of the game with the instruction manual was a neat idea, albeit messy. Controls, combat, and the camera were pretty rough at times, but never so terrible that it completely made me quit playing. Visuals and soundtrack give way to a pretty solid presentation, which is probably this game's biggest positive.
But then the game decides to do something different in the second half and I just had enough. The flaws of this game are forgivable in the first part, but become intolerable in the next.
One of those games I respect more than I like. It's doing some off-the-wall stuff and has a neat sense of style, but solving its mysteries in and of themselves wasn't enough to keep me coming back. I think a part of that is also the combat just didn't feel satisfying on any level.
Me arrependo amargamente de ter ignorado esse jogo no lançamento, pois isto aqui é uma verdadeira obra de arte. É como se Zelda e Dark Souls dessem as mãos e seguissem o mesmo caminho, a perfeita junção de obras que eu amo de coração.
Tunic é como uma caixinha de surpresas, quanto mais você vai fundo, mais vai descobrir. Um jogo onde segredos estão te cercando, um jogo que não é preciso de diálogos para passar uma sensação boa.
E o que mais me fascinou foi aquela "pitadinha de infância", memórias de quando pegava um manual do N64 que não era traduzido para português, entender absolutamente nada do que estava escrito e apenas olhar as ilustrações para progredir e aprender mecânicas do jogo. Tunic traz essa sensação de volta quando nos deparamos com um idioma desconhecido.
Eu nem preciso falar muito sobre a arte do jogo, apenas pelo trailer você consegue ver o quão a direção de arte é impecável. A dificuldade está na medida certa, irá te punir, mas não ao ponto de ser desencorajador. A trilha sonora também é ótima. Tunic é de longe um dos melhores jogos que joguei este ano. Vale a pena dar uma chance!
So wonderful! A difficult Zelda-like with absolutely charming character design and music. I said “squeeee” a lot while playing this, and I’m a boring middle aged dude, so I think that communicates how adorable this game is. The final secret puzzles are hilariously obtuse so umm, maybe watch a YouTube video to unlock the true ending. It’s worth it, much “squeeeee”.
This review contains spoilers
I was enjoying this game a lot until it forced me to become a ghost and remove all the upgrades I had achieved to this point.
I seemingly could only turn back after struggling through an area that would have been difficult at my full strength, let alone in this ghost form. I just got too frustrated with this design decision and haven't come back to it since.
Otherwise though, great game and I do recommend it for the first few hours. You might also just power through the ghost section where I gave up.
Unexpectedly tough combat makes for a miserable experience, especially with the horrible parry timing, but they clearly realised this as there's accessibility settings for infinite health and stamina. Bang them on, you'll still get knocked about but you can learn attack patterns without having to start the fights over again a dozen times*
Even then, it seems to have missed the point of the two main things it's cribbing from. BUT it's got some good ideas of its own worth seeing. I dunno. I did finish it, so it's definitely got something. But I dunno.
*This would be the ideal compromise for a From game I reckon. Or any game. Put this in everything, a pound says the game still holds up.
This review contains spoilers
Probablemente sea el mejor Zelda isométrico que he jugado, ya que a diferencia de Zeldas como "Link's awakening" o "A link to the past" este juego básicamente tiene todo lo bueno de un Zelda clasico pero sin tooodo lo malo de un Zelda clásico, además de su combate tipo souls y de tener en cuenta que existe internet, por ejemplo, yo me saqué el final malo pero existe el manual y, al igual que con Outer Wilds, el mayor poder es el conocimiento, hay cosas que podrías haber hecho desde el principio pero no tenías la pagina del manual que te decía como hacerlo y, entre eso, lo pasajes ocultos que te vuelan la cabeza porque son atajos que en vez de desbloquear pasajes siempre habían estado ahí solo que no los veías, entre el posicionamiento, el twist de la mitad del juego y sobre todo la puerta de la montaña... bufff, me ha gustado bastante y eso que entré con expectativas muy bajas ya que venía de un amigo que básicamente había dropeado el juego. A mi en lo personal me ha encantado y, con su sencillez, creo que tiene mucho que aportar al mundillo y seguramente intente sacarme el final bueno porque me flipan sus puzles.
Tunic clearly conjures imagery of old school Legend of Zelda, the titular tunic itself is the classic green, the hero holds a shield and sword and you traverse a magical world acquiring items to help on your quest. It seems like this would be a Zelda like indie game but the homage to Zelda is not really in its gameplay, instead what Tunic is trying to replicate was that magical feeling back in the 80s of playing a new wonderous game. There was no real direction, no internet to help you solve all the puzzles; it was you, an instruction manual, and talk on a playground sharing experiences that helped guide the players. That’s what Tunic is trying to replicate and it does a really great job capturing that feeling.
Tunic gameplay wise feels more like one of the many indie pixel art 2D Souls like games. Like souls there are save points which serve as respawn points, if you die a ghost of your body remains where you left it though the penalty is minimal, just a small loss of coins. Combat is simplistic in that you have one sword attack button, a roll (dodge), a shield to block, and then items you can use. This game uses a stamina bar which is honestly is probably the cause of most of the difficulty with combat. Rolls and blocks lower stamina, if your bar hits zero you enter a tired state and now take double damage which means waiting for the bar to fill all the way up to get back to normal. This means at your worst moment in a fight, usually after you are desperately trying to avoid enemy attacks, if you aren’t paying attention to that bar you can put yourself in far worse danger than before.
This isn’t an issue for most of the regular enemy fodder but it is against the tough boss battles. Personally I enjoyed the difficulty of the bosses, they require mastery of the dodge and all items at your disposal. These bosses are sometimes huge relative to your character, some times fast and deadly, always a great fight capping off a good location. I did read online that these felt like extreme difficulty spikes for many players, i can see that but the game does allow for exploration and building your character by finding upgrades and items around the world. By the end I had a combo of skills that made most bosses and enemies trivial, but early on it was a good struggle.
One nitpick that I have though is how when you entire the menu to change items the game never pauses, as if it’s an online souls game. This game is not online, there is zero reason as to why the game doesn’t pause when you want to change an item. during a fight you have no time to switch an item and many times I had attack items set and needed to switch to a healing item and couldn’t. Or if I ran out of bombs I couldn’t switch to a different weapon. It’s a weird decision that limits your options during fights for no reason at all.
Combat is a big focus of the game but it’s not enough to sustain it. The real fun for me came from exploring the world and discovering it’s many secrets. There is an overworld that leads to different areas that serve as the “dungeons”, so first you must head East and go through a forest to get a sword. These areas don’t really have any puzzles blocking your path, the main obstacle is the enemies and combat. Some introduce a new item like a hook shots and enemies that can be exploited using this new item. The levels are well designed in that like a souls game you will unlock shortcuts as you explore. None are that big, you don’t really spend too much time in any one area which is fine, it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome.
What’s really unique about the level design is how many of these shortcuts are open to the player from the very beginning, you don’t earn a key or unlock a door every time, sometimes you just find a hidden path that dumps you right into the overworld, it was always there you just didn’t know to look behind a tree. That spirit of discovery is all over the game, most of the things you learn is knowledge, not an item gating you, it’s just you didn’t learn what you could do yet.
By far the most important unique addition to this game, the reason it’s special, is the manual. This game has an old school NES like instruction manual that teaches you how to play, gives you maps and shows you clues on the many puzzles. You find pages throughout the game world, each page gives a new piece of information. At first it’s simple things like learning how to dash, or that you can upgrade at the save points. These are all things you can do right at the start but you would never know how without the instructions. This manual is beautiful, with old school like art work and amazingly detailed maps. The maps are invaluable, they come with scribbles written by some unnamed previous owner of the game who left notes on how to find the games biggest secrets; it’s such a well executed idea and totally captures the magic of old school gaming and sense of discovery.
So the main quest is over in like 8 hours or so, it’s mostly combat focused but there are plenty of secrets to find all around. Still if you just do the main quest it feels like a rather standard top down action adventure, not all that special. If you are observant you will begin to realize there is a bit more to everything you see and that leads to the real reason I love the game, there is a whole layer of secrets all over and the manual is the key. At one point you get a page that changes the way you access the game world (again you could have done this from the start, you just didn’t know how) and that’s when the fun begins and this is the path to the true ending.
Get ready for notepads, taking screenshots and if you are really devoted, learning an entire new language. Not since Fez have I seen a game that goes so deep into optional secrets built into the game world. I won’t spoil any of these puzzles just know many are fantastic.
That said there is a big issue that holds this game back from being truly excellent, it’s how separate this second half of the game is to the first half. The puzzle quest to get the second ending ends up feeling like gigantic fetch quests where all you are doing is using the manual to find secrets all around the world you already completed. There are no new bosses, no new locations, no new enemies; the game just becomes you hunting for stuff in the game world. I ignored all enemies as I backtracked and it became annoying to travel back and forth cause fast travel takes you to just the start of each area. The reward is minimal as well, in the end all you get is a small pointless cutscene. The best games integrate puzzles into the game much better than Tunic does, I felt like I stopped playing a top down action game and instead was playing a strange puzzle game, a great one.
Graphically Tunic is really enjoyable to look at for an indie game. I love the blocky almost 3D dot game hero like graphical style. Thankfully it’s not another pixel art junk game. It has some good adventure sounding music but nothing that memorable.
Tunic is a great concept that didn’t get executed as well as it could have but what it attempted to do spoke to me and everything I loved about old school gaming. I was obsessed with getting every puzzle on my own, I got a good 95% of them, there are a few that require translating a language so I left that for the internet. I would love a sequel to integrate the puzzles with the actual questing part of the game, kind of like another franchise… Still Tunic is a great indie game and that instruction manual progression and hint system is one of the most unique and interesting ideas I’ve seen in a game in a while.